Read anywhere about flying drones and you will read of mishaps many a less-than experienced pilots, as well as some who should have known better, and their encounters with ponds, lakes, rivers and the sea. If you are an experienced drone pilot then doubtless you will have also encountered one of the principal drawbacks of piloting a drone, and that is the need for a relatively flat landing surface, and one that is most definitely dry!
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, whoever ‘they’ may be, and clearly that is very much what lies behind the development of a drone accessory, the WaterStrider, that ran a campaign on Kickstarter and which reached its $22,500 goal in the last week of its campaign, which ended on the 26th May. If you know about the water strider insect, or water boatman as it is sometimes referred to, then you will know of its ability to walk on water, and that is what lies behind the design of this product.
Clearly, having reached its Kickstarter target, there is going to be good interest in what may initially seem like a ‘clunky’ attachment for a drone, but it is the only practical and effective solution to an annoying problem. Like anything, once you get used to the visual impact, its effectiveness will doubtless take over, and your drone flying fun just got better. To now be able to deliberately land your drone on the water is a huge plus. While there will be those of us who will then be content to enjoy a duck’s-eye view of what is going on, doubtless there will be more who are already thinking how cool it will be to get a remotely controlled telescopic extension mount for your camera which will enable you to take underwater images as well.
The current model of the WaterStrider has been specifically designed for one of the most popular series of drones, the DJI Phantom 3 and Phantom 4, which will negate the option for a telescopic camera mount as the camera is fixed solidly to the DJI aircraft, but this is very early days in the existence of this fledgling company. There is every likelihood that that very useful accessory will prove sufficiently popular that models for a far wider range of drones will become available, and underwater photography become a more likely option.
Now we think about it, it would be far cheaper to have a gravity-induced extension arm to the camera attachment such that the weight of the camera would automatically extend it when launched, but it would then retract automatically on landing. We sense another Kickstarter campaign may be on the way with Quadcopters.com at the forefront. Best paten the idea, though what you can patent about a telescopic pole might be difficult, perhaps it is the ‘in-situ’ factor that will count.